Author Archive | Good German

‘I Wished They Had Killed Me': Victim of CIA Says Torture Worse Than You Know

Majid Khan is pictured in this 2009 handout photograph taken at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, released on June 1, 2015. (Photo: Center for Constitutional Rights)

Majid Khan is pictured in this 2009 handout photograph taken at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, released on June 1, 2015. (Photo: Center for Constitutional Rights)

Nadia Prupis writes at Common Dreams:

A Guantanamo Bay detainee turned government witness has accused the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of using even more disturbing forms of torture and abuse during secret interrogations than were included in the U.S. Senate’s redacted report last year.

In a newly declassified account published Tuesday by Reuters, Majid Khan said that agents subjected him to waterboarding, poured ice water on his genitals, sexually assaulted him, and threatened to beat him with a hammer, baseball bats, sticks, and leather belts, among other abuses that were not detailed in the Senate report.

“Khan said his feet and lower legs were placed in tall boot-like metal cuffs that dug into his flesh and immobilized his legs. He said he felt that his legs would break if he fell forward while restrained by the cuffs,” writes Reuters investigative journalist David Rohde.

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Police Authoritarianism and White Defensiveness

"Crowley and Gates" by Henry_Louis_Gates_Jr.jpg: Jon IronsJames_Crowley.jpg: Official White House Photo by Pete Souzaderivative work: Jayen466 - Henry_Louis_Gates_Jr.jpgJames_Crowley.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Crowley and Gates” by Henry_Louis_Gates_Jr.jpg: Jon IronsJames_Crowley.jpg: Official White House Photo by Pete Souzaderivative work: Jayen466Henry_Louis_Gates_Jr.jpgJames_Crowley.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

From 2009, “Mightywombat” writing at Feministing:

I find it difficult to express how angered I have been by the reaction to the Skip Gates arrest, and some other racial incidents recently.  I am starting to feel like our language has truly been turned inside out.  Suddenly, the word “racist” has come to mean pointing out racism. Obama’s statement that it is “just a fact” that there is a long history of discrimination against blacks and Latinos by law enforcement, which should be remarkable only for its obviousness, is suddenly “playing the race card.”  The fact that, to use the words of Ta-Nehisi Coates , “officers are well within their rights to arrest you for sassing them,” is terrifying, and has gotten lost in the “was too!”/”was not!” bicker over whether the officer was racist. 

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Freedom of Choice Degree Zero

Screenshot of Taco Bell’s “Routine Republic”

Screenshot of Taco Bell’s “Routine Republic”

A. S. Hamrah writes at the Baffler:

Soon there will only be two kinds of ads on broadcast TV: commercials for things that make you sick and commercials for things that cure the illnesses caused by the things that make you sick. That’s why fast-food ads are stocked with images of youth living it up, while Big Pharma ads feature old people enjoying themselves despite their afflictions. These two types of ads follow each other with an inexorable logic, alternating the vibrant primary colors of childhood with the washed-out pastels of old age. TV tries to create life in time slots. Drama and comedy are interrupted on schedule for servings of Chicken McNuggets and pills. On broadcast TV, those are the Ages of Man.

This restless flickering between life and death makes sense for a time in which the broadcast networks’ mission of offering entertainment for the whole family generates diminishing returns.

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The Arc of the Moral Universe… Is Twisted

President George W. Bush looks over a brief with Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in the Outer Oval Office of the White House on September 12, 2001. (Photo: U.S. National Archives)

President George W. Bush looks over a brief with Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in the Outer Oval Office of the White House on September 12, 2001. (Photo: U.S. National Archives)

David Michael Green writes at Common Dreams:

Barack Obama is in the habit of borrowing from Martin Luther King to remind us that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Funny, I was just wondering about that last week myself.

Not because Obama has restated the premise, of course.  From Arctic drilling, to persecuting – and prosecuting – whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, to viciously slandering rightful critics of his trade deal abominations, Obama has shown that he may be well acquainted with many things, but moral justice is not much one of them.

No, what got me thinking about this was the resurfacing these last weeks of the national discussion about the justification for America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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8 Reasons to Ignore the News

Robert Couse-Baker (CC BY 2.0)

Robert Couse-Baker (CC BY 2.0)

Amit Sodha writes at Unlimited Choice:

…(Most of it anyway”) “Poor sleep pattern may be early sign of Alzheimer’s”

Does that headline look familiar to you? I saw one just like it in a paper recently and I really had to stop myself from laughing out loud in the middle of a packed train.

The statement itself is so vague and if you read the papers on a regular basis you’ll see dozens of those kinds of headlines. I ignore a large portion of them. Why?

The trouble is with a headline like that is 3 fold:

  1. The validity of the claim is negated when a word like ‘may’ is you used.
  2. The headline itself is designed to scare people into reading the article.
  3. Although based on research. If you often read to the end of articles it will often end with the words “although not conclusive”.
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Why Are White Men Touching Art?

Katie Tegtmeyer (CC by 2.0)

Katie Tegtmeyer (CC by 2.0)

Ry Molloy writes at the Huffington Post:

It’s opening night at the gallery, and the stress level is high. Directors run around trying to appease the donors, the caterers maneuver carts through the crowded floor, and the guests flood the space and pouring through the new shows.

Meanwhile I’m stationed at my post, neck on a jittery swivel as I attempt to monitor five hundred square feet of space. My job is that of a sign, reminding all: Do Not Touch.

The main objects of concern are a set of sculptures by a black male artist from LA. Sea Pigs, as they are titled, the pieces are made of reclaimed buoys hung from the ceiling and covered in layers of acrylic medium, paper and bungee cord. Though abstract sculpture may not lend itself to written description, the point stands that the room is littered with bovine-sized sculptures dangling at shoulder height and begging to be touched.

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Strange Vibes from the Levant

Screen shot 2015-06-02 at 12.32.13 PM

Asma Ghanem writes at Reorient:

Six musicians on their work and the state of experimental music in the Arab world

My eyes filled with tears during a classical music concert in Ramallah performed by children the same age as me. After several failed attempts at trying to convince my parents to allow me to study music, I felt empty and helpless. Musical education was very expensive for my parents, being Palestinian refugees who had constantly been on the move from Lebanon to Syria and Palestine. It was painful for me to watch the serene eyes of those children performing so calmly and proudly, without a care in the world.

My family’s inability to provide such luxuries was a turning point for me, which prompted me to begin thinking about the production of music and its commercial aspects. It was also at that time that I started developing an interest in experimental music, and questioned not only music, but also sound in general.

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10 of the Best Sci-Fi Art Books

51TQ776VQ7LAndrew Seel writes at OMNI Reboot:

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and in the case of science fiction art, no proverbial can ring to be more true. Science fiction art is truly a genre unlike any other. Each illustration, cover, or painting captures a story. Each step in the thought process of a science fiction artist is intricately purposeful and intentional. When it comes to science fiction, art should bombard your eyes with extremely sublime and striking graphic, grabbing your attention within milliseconds but that alone can’t determine its success. A great Sci-fi artwork can make you dwell into the world that is illustrated by the author, visually and emotionally experience the journey of action and adventure that have been prepared for you. These are ten of the best sci-fi art books that highlight their amazing work.

10. Sexy Robot

Sexy Robot cemented Sorayama’s legacy as an artist and brought him worldwide attention.
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The Solution to Climate Change Right Under Our Feet

Healthy soil.  (Photo: Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Health Campaign/flickr/cc)

Healthy soil. (Photo: Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Health Campaign/flickr/cc)

Andrea Germanos writes at Common Dreams:

What if there were a risk-free way of helping to mitigate climate change while simultaneously addressing food and water security?

A new report from the Center for Food Safety’s Cool Foods Campaign says that such an opportunity is possible, and it’s right below our feet.

Soil & Carbon: Soil Solutions to Climate Problems outlines how it is possible to take atmospheric CO2, which is fueling climate change, and plug it into the soil. Far from moving the problem from one place to another, this shift can reduce ocean acidification because the oceans are no longer the sink for vast amounts of CO2, and can regenerate degraded soils by providing needed carbon.

The report lays out the problem in this way:

Humans are altering the chemistry of where carbon is stored, and climate change is a manifestation of that alteration.

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Chicago Police Put Antlers on Black Man and Posed for Pictures

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Juan Thompson writes at the Intercept:

The photo shows two white Chicago Police officers posing with an unidentified black man [above]. The officers — Timothy McDermott and Jerome Finnigan — are holding rifles as the black man lies on the floor with a dazed look on his face and with antlers on his head as if he were a prized, big buck finally hunted down.

Finnegan is smiling and grabbing the right antler, while McDermott is holding up the man’s head as if it were his trophy.

The photo was taken in a police station on the West Side of Chicago sometime between 1999 and 2003. The Chicago Police Department successfully kept it hidden from the public until a judge refused to keep it under seal and the Chicago Sun-Times pulled a copy from a court filing. 

Finnigan is a notoriously dirty ex-cop who was a member of the police department’s elite Special Operations Section (SOS) until 2006, when he was charged with leading a gang of fellow officers who robbed suspects, illegally invaded homes and stole thousands of dollars in cash.

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